tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC July 20, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
tonight on "world news," mud versus oil. bp ready with a mountain of mud to smother and seal the leak once and for all. a bold new idea. prime minister and president. britain's david cameron. the young political star everyone's talking about, weighing in on bp, lockerbie and obama. race and reaction. a black federal employee resigns, saying the white house misunderstood that happened 24 years ago. and, the mailman and the moment. one postman, saving lives three times.
good evening tonight. a brand new british prime minister arrived at the white house, and you'll meet david cameron in a moment, as we ask him about everything from afghanistan too the storm surrounding british oil giant bp. it is now three months to the day since the oil spill began, a day on which bp began selling billions of dollars in assets. and, mud has become the latest hope for the end of that broken well. we'll begin with abc's matt gutman in louisiana tonight on this new idea. matt? >> reporter: diane, think of it this way. it's an arm wrestling match between this mud and that oil. now, engineers are going to use pumps four times bigger than this to try to jam that mud into the well. now, if the mud wins, it could be game over. the government said it could make a decision on the plan as early as tomorrow, for implementation as early as next week. >> the discussions are going on
now. >> reporter: according to the plan, engineers would force feed a cocktail of over 200,000 gallons of mud and cement 13,000 feet down the well, all of it pumped through these two pipes in the sealing cap. that mud could be slowly pumped in. it's similar to the top kill method that failed in may. the advantage this time, the cap has stopped the powerful flow of oil, making it easier to overwhelm. do you think this is the best chance they have of succeeding? >> well, i think it's a good way to hedge bets. >> reporter: and in this demonstration, created by lsu engineers, you can see the mud sinking, the oil no longer surging up against it. at the same time, work continues on the relief wells, one of which could intersect the crippled well as early as next week. but that's contingent on the stacking cap holding. it may be leaking. apparently not seriously. that little bit of good news
today offset by word that bp is selling off $7 billion in assets to help cover its liabilities in the gulf. in hearings in new orleans today, the company also under fire by a government panel for ignoring warnings about that critical blowout preventer that caused the disaster in the first place this was a well site leader on the rig. >> suspend until that is operable. >> was that done at the deepwater horizon? >> no, it wasn't. >> reporter: now, with those investigations, bp's financial woes and that urgent need to kill that well, there is more trouble, potentially, on the horizon for bp. a possible tropical storm headed right for the gulf coast, maybe this weekend, diane. >> another storm on the way. well, matt, as you know, the high octane british prime minister, david cameron, arrived for his first u.s. visit since taking office in early may. and we had a chance to interview
him. cameron and obama, both in their 40s, both with young children. but cameron is a conservative, and on this day, we learned bp is selling $7 billion in assets to another oil company, the apache corporation, to generate cash for the costs of the oil spill. cameron had been worried that unrelenting u.s. pressure on the company could affect the stockholders on both sides of the ocean. are you as angry about what happened in the gulf as americans are? >> yes, i was very angry about it because anyone who cares about the environment, when you see those pictures of oil pouring out of an underground well and doing so much environmental damage, doing damage to wildlife, to beaches, that makes you angry, that makes you angry. i want bp to sort it out. i do think it's in britain's interest and also america's interest, and the world's interest, that bp remains a strong and stable company, not
only so it is able to make the pay youments to those fishermen to the business owners who have been hit by the spill. >> reporter: did it trouble how tough the president has been? at one point he called bp reckless, and at another point -- >> whose ass to kick. >> reporter: that is a direct quote. >> the president and i have spoken about this. we agree it's important bp does those things. >> reporter: do you think this was unhelpful? did you have any differences? >> i don't want to get into a war of words. what matters is dealing with the issue. >> reporter: lockerbie. >> yeah. >> reporter: and megrahi. in that pan-am bomb. scotland released him as a terminal cancer case. but a group of angry u.s. senators have called for another investigation amid reports bp somehow influenced this case. cameron said he's long been
outraged by megrahi's release. >> he was convicted of the biggest mass murder in british history. in my view, that man should have died in jail, full stop, end all. the second thing is we should be clear about who was responsible for the decision to release him. it was a decision taken by the scottish government. i don't currently think that a sort of, another full inquiry by the british government is the currently ne lly necessary, bec don't need an inquiry to think what i already know, which it was a bad decision to release him and even contemplate. ill know there is a congressional -- >> reporter: full cooperation? >> absolutely, in whatever way we can. but i would just, you know, i think it's important to get sort of straighten our heads. this was not a decision that bp took or this -- the wrong decision, in my view, but a government took that decision, and i think that's important. >> reporter: one other request from the senators that there be a moratorium on any drilling of
any kind until this matter has been settled in libya, by bp. >> well, i think that trying to connect these issues up, i don't think, is right. >> reporter: that's not a consideration? >> i'm going to meet with the senators. >> reporter: clearly, the main purpose of the president and the new prime minister was to keep the harmony in the so-called special relationship between the u.s. and grate britain, who tied at the world cup, and exchanged beers. goose island 312. did you have it cold? >> very good. as ordered to by the president, i put it in the fridge and i've been drinking it while watching the world cup. it's very good beer. >> reporter: by the way, cameron said great britain is a junior partner in the special relationship. >> reporter: you met him before, but what intrigued you the most. >> i was intrigued to find out what this guy was like. he's one of the calmest, coolest people i've come across. extremely friendly, very easy to
get to know. very clear in his mind about what he believes and what he wants. >> reporter: anything about him surprise you? >> yes, his frankness, actually. we had -- the first time we'd met, so, the calmness. he was very frank about the problems he had to overcome. in terms of, you know, people's beliefs about him. >> reporter: but there is a differences. symbolized by the fact that cameron came to the u.s. and a commercial plane. >> you know, we've got a lot of money to save. very big budget deficit. we can't go spending money on executive planes, sadly. >> reporter: england's percentage deficit is even larger than the u.s., and they've decided to cut back now. cameron drastically cutting government programs, even raising taxes. while obama says the u.s. should continue the stimulus. >> reporter: do you think the united states is just wrong? >> no, i don't. we're different countries. we have different needs. we're going to do things at different speeds. you guys can run a bigger
deficit for longer than we can. but you know, this year, we are borrowing more than virtually any other country in the g-20. we're actual libor roeing more this year than greece. so, it necessary for britain to prove that we can live within our means. and having won the election on that basis, and formed a coalition government on that basis, i want to demonstrate that that's what we're going to do. >> reporter: you don't look at the united states and in any way say, you are continuing to stimulate yourself into a point of no return. >> president obama himself has got plans for budget deficit reduction that is going to take your deficit down to 3% of gdp by 2015. >> the junior partner is not going to scold the united states? >> certainly not. different countries to do different things in different ways. we're all heading in the same direction. >> reporter: afghanistan. >> yeah. >> reporter: is -- are the international forces winning? >> i think we're making progress. i think we need to just be very clear about what we're trying to do in afghanistan.
frankly, we're not trying to create the perfect democracy. we're never going to create some ideal society. we are simply there for our own national security, for your security here in the u.s., for our security in the uk. that means having an afghan government that is capable of securing its own country. that is the key condition. that's the only condition we should really be putting on all of this. >> reporter: but the u.s. is talking about starting a pullout next year. cameron has said britain is out in 2015. will you be out in 2015, no matter what? >> what i said, 2015, there will not be british combat troops. will we have a relationship with afghanistan, into the future in terms of aid and assistance and maybe some military training, yes, of course. >> reporter: one of the taliban leaders said that an enemy talking timetables of withdrawal is an enemy that's failed. >> well, i don't accept that. because the truth is, the only
timetable that i'm talking about is five years away in what has been a long convict. >> reporter: 321, perhaps more, fatalities among british troops and we have seen those incredible scenes of the hearses in the village streets with the veterans saluting them as they go by. what do you do when you're sitting alone at night? >> well, it is, by far, i mean, by a million miles, the biggest responsibility, the biggest challenge that i feel, or that i have responsibility for what happens. and also, we don't read about this, as well as though that die, there are those who lose limbs and who are wounded, sometimes terribly, who have a lifetime of difficulty because of that. i take full responsibility for that and that's one of the reasons i wanted to be here today, talking to the president, because, in the end, it is going to be the british and the americans and other key allies
in nato who get it right or don't get it right. and this is the biggest responsibility that i have. make sure they can live a life and try to help them. get over their grief. but it is -- you never get over your grief. you never forget something that you've lost. and it is incredibly stuff and they are bearing an incredible burden for us. >> and we will have a bit more with the prime minister later in the broadcast. you can see the full interview on our website, abcnews.com. moving on now, help is finally on the way for millions of americans whose unemployment checks have stopped. after two months of republican delays, the senate voted 60-40 on party lines to restore benefits to 2.5 million people out of work at least six months. the president could get that bill by tomorrow. and elena kagan has cleared one more major hurdle. the senate judiciary committee approved her nomination today 13-6. south carolina's lynn see graham, the only republican
voting yes. the full senate could vote on kagan within a couple of weeks. also, here in washington, a major setback today for a blockbuster cancer drug, avastin. a panel of government advisers, all of them cancer experts said that the drug should no longer be reck menlded for women with advanced breast cancer. the panel said the risks outweigh the benefits. here's lisa stark. >> reporter: it was a ray of hope for women who had little. avastin promised to improve the quality of life for those with advanced breast cancer. but now, the experts say the drug should no longer be used for women with the disease. >> it is not saving lives and, in fact, women taking this drug tend to die a little bit sooner than women taking other drugs. >> reporter: avas tan samed to starve tumors by choking off their blood supply. in 2008, it seemed to be working. while it didn't lengthen lives, it appeared to give women an extra five months before their
disease worsened. but the new studies reveal it wasn't so. for pat howard, who has been relying on avastin for three years, it's hard to fathom. >> i've been known to leave the avastin chair, rush to the golf course and play 18 holes of golf. my quality of life is fabulous. >> reporter: 90,000 women have used avastin for breast cancer. it will still be used for other cancers, and even if the fda pulls the plug on it for breast cancer, doctors could offer the drug off-label. but the pricetag, $50,000 to $90,000 a year, is one few women could afford. lisa stark, abc news, washington. and still ahead on "world news," the black federal employee out of a job because a comment she made 24 years ago. a controversy about race, racism and these polarized times. and, the balancing act. we've seen the obamas at home. david cameron at home, doing dishes?
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and we turn now to a story about race, politics and what constitutes a rush to judgment. it involves a black federal employees, a tape posted on the internet and what she says was misinterpretation about statements she made decades ago. and the white house reacted. jake tapper reports. >> reporter: it was combustible. a conservative website posting a video clip of department of agriculture official shirley sherrod at an naacp event talking about meeting with a white farmer. >> i was struggling with the fact that so many black people have lost their farm land and here i was faced with having to help a white person save their land.
so i didn't give him the full force of what i could do. >> reporter: last night, an official demanded she pull over and type a resignation letter. tom vilsack said in a statement that, there is zero toll ranls for discrimination at his agency. none of them bothered to learn that the incident in question happened 24 years ago when she worked for a nonprofit. the question is, why would you look at the white farmer's differently than you looked at the black farmers? >> because i always, up to that point, i felt they had all of the advantages. >> reporter: then, in 1984, she changed her mind, as she said in the speech. >> that's when it was revealed to me that it's about poor versus those who have. >> reporter: in your view, your story was about how race shouldn't matter with people. >> right. and they turned it into saying that i'm a racist. >> reporter: and you're not? >> you better believe it.
>> reporter: and the white farmers in she rod's story agree. and credit her with saving their farm. roger and el weez spooner consider sherrod a friend. >> it wasn't a matter of a few months and we would have lost it. >> reporter: and diane, earlier today, the naacp was applauding secretary vilsack's decision, but just a few minutes ago, they reversed course, saying they were snookered by conservative media. diane? >> quite a tv drama today. thank you, jake tapper. and still ahead, the letter carrier who saves lives while delivering the mail and delivering people to safety. delivering the mail and delivering people to safety. a three-time hero. e and eat rig, but your blood sugar may still be high, and you need extra help. ask your doctor about onglyza, a once daily medicine used with diet and exercise to control high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. adding onglyza to your current oral medicine
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get one of these every six months you go without an accident. [ judy ] what are you waiting for? call or click today for a free quote or to find an allstate agent. word of another oil spill tonight, but this one in china. high drama after a pipeline explosion sent oil pouring into the yellow sea. the slick overwhelmed a firefighter trying to fix an underwater pump. he nearly drowned in the thick crude before a colleague jumped in to rescue him. other men waited on shore to carry him to safety. these pictures documenting the rescue were released by greenpeace. and, in akron, ohio, one mailman really delivers. keith mcvay was on his route when he found a man unconscious, turning blue. he performed cpr and revived him. and by the way, two years ago, he saved a girl drowning in a lake. after both rescues, he continued on to deliver the day's mail.
and one more note, he once saved a man who jumped from a bridge and landed in a snow bank. and he thinks a higher power might be at work. >> after two or three events, you kind of wonder to yourself, hmm. >> hmm, indeed. a hero three times over. and when we return, another high powered young couple at home. can be unsettling. but what if there were a different story? of one financial company that grew stronger through the crisis. when some lost their way, this company led the way. by protecting clients and turning uncertainty into confidence. what if that story were true? it is. ♪ it is. there's oil out there we've got to capture. my job is to hunt it down. i'm fred lemond, and i'm in charge of bp's efforts to remove oil from these waters.
bp has taken full responsibility for the cleanup and that includes keeping you informed. every morning, over 50 spotter planes and helicopters take off and search for the oil. we use satellite images, infrared and thermal photography to map and target the oil. then, the boats go to work. almost 6,000 vessels. these are thousands of local shrimp and fishing boats organized into task forces and strike teams. plus, specialized skimmers from around the world. we've skimmed over 27 million gallons of oil/water mixture and removed millions more with other methods. we've set out more than 8 million feet of boom to protect the shoreline. i grew up on the gulf coast and i love these waters. we can't keep all the oil from coming ashore, but i'm gonna do everything i can to stop it, and we'll be here as long as it takes to clean up the gulf. [meow] desperate for nighttime heartburn relief?
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there he was with internet videos, shirt sleeves rolled up, biking to work, playing in the snow. moving seamlessly from the podium to the stove. his wife samantha was born into the upper class, but had a creative director job at a stationary goods company. their first born was ivan, born with a rare form of serb ball palsy. cameron called them their beautiful boy, and when he died last year at the age of 6, a nation grieved. the couple has a daughter, nancy, now age 6 and arthur, age 4. and a new baby due to arrive in september. their dad has even before known to use dr. seuss in front of crowds, as moral instruction. kwoefting dr. seuss? unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better? >> it's not.
that's right. >> reporter: we saw incredible campaign videos of you putting dishes in the dishwasher. >> the things we do. >> reporter: making the porridge, stirring the porridge there. you have a new baby on the way. so, what's going to happen with the diapers now, and the dishes now? >> well, there will be the usual family round about who does what. but i'll try and be a good hands-on dad, but september and the arrival of a new one is going to test that theory. in this job, there are always 1,000 other things you could be doing. and you have to make sure you do find time for your family and your children. hopefully one of the reasons you become prime minister is because you've got some balance and some sort of reasonable judgment that you bring to the problems of life. and if you get frazzled and forget who you are, then you're going to be a rubbish dad and probably be a rubbish prime minister, too. >> reporter: i wanted to ask you about being the youngest prime minister in, oh, what is it in england, 200 years.
medvedev, sarkozy, obama. a whole new group coming in, post-world war ii generation, post-cord war generation. what does that mean? what is the most important common denominator of being this generation? >> i'm not sure. it may be something that happens and then it changes again. i mean, i'm a great respecter of the old and the wise and the experienced. they've seen it all and done it all. >> reporter: they might not have given the president radiohead. >> i did. and lily allen, as well. >> reporter: right. >> i met her after that and said, i gave your record to the president. and he said, yeah, i know, but i'm still not voting for you. so you can't win, can you? >> the new prime minister. and tomorrow night, we'll be in california, an interview with the founder of facebook, mark zuckerberg, right here tomorrow night. se see you